December 16th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
12 years ago

Iraqis urge government to free shoe-thrower

 TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi, in a file photo, was jailed after throwing his shoes at President Bush.

TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi, in a file photo, was jailed after throwing his shoes at President Bush.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Protesters across Iraq Tuesday urged government authorities to free the TV correspondent who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush.

Hundreds of students at Diyala University in Baquba carried banners demanding the release of Muntadhar al-Zaidi - described by demonstrators as an "honorable Iraqi."

Smaller protests emerged in the Anbar province city of Falluja and in two Baghdad locations - Baghdad University in the northern part of the city and western Baghdad's Ameriya district. In those events, students also took to the streets.

Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush, while Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were holding a Sunday news conference after the president's surprise visit to Baghdad. The journalist was dragged to the ground, hustled out of the room and arrested.

Shouting as he was dragged to the floor, the reporter called his shoe-throwing - a traditional insult in Arab culture - a "farewell kiss" to a "dog" who launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Dhirgham al-Zaidi, the shoe-thrower's brother, said the journalist hated the "material American occupation" and Iranian influence in Iraq.

Full story

Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. zzzzzz

    George W Bush is the President of the United States of America. Even though I am no fan of Bush what this man did was totally disrespectful to the President and should be punished. Where was the Secret Sevice?
    A lot of people in the US are disappointed and angry with the Bush administration... but we are not going to be throwing shoes at the guy.
    The US should have left Iraq under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. I bet this guy would not have thrown any shoes at Saddam. He surely would be executed by now.

    December 16, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. GW BUSH BEAT YOU IDIOTS TWICE, Whats that say About you?

    Its amazing how many Americans think GW Bush is the enemy. Simply amazing to me. This man frees Millions of Iraqis from a dictator that would have chopped someones head off if they threw a shoe and somehow in your twisted little minds GW Bush Deserves this? You people really need to wake up and to see who the true enemy is and I can give you a clue its not Bush. Bush is a Patriot and I can bet you this in 10-15-20 yrs they will have statues of him in Iraq as the President that brought democracy and piece to this country.

    December 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Scott NYC Independent

    He should be freed. If Bush were and honest man none of this would have happened. No, I'm not talking about the war again. I'm talking about the spin that he and his farewell staff are putting on his accomplishments. Bush was in Iraq only to make a speech to a group of Iraq and middle east reporters to lay claims to things that only exists in his mind. To attempt to put a false face on history and his role in this dark time in the Middle East and America; the shoe forever ruined that image and I'm pleased, very much so. Had Bush been the kind of man to accept responsibility for the errors of his last 8 years and were about to construct an honest recount of his administration then he would not have been there trying to fabricate a lie. Thus, the shoe would not have been thrown. Again this is all his fault for being a deceiving liar.

    December 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. DD

    Hold on! You all don't speak for the American people! When it is okay to throw things at ALL country's leaders and everyone else, then it will be okay to throw them at Pres. Bush. Treating people, ALL people, with respect and courtesy is required, not just those you don't agree with.

    December 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |

    In almost 8 years, there has not been a single thing Bush Junior was able to do it correctly, NOT EVEN ONCE, except dodging a flying shoe.... WOW, what a born athlete... 🙂

    December 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. renee

    please let him go and bring him over here so that he can make a stop in Chicago and Alaska(LOL)

    December 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Anna

    Let the guy go free. He have freedom of speech. anyway, Bush is not hurt so let him go. He did what many americans and rest of world want to do.
    Did you guys see how Bush was covering by saying this is not majority of Iraqis opinion on him, i felt bad for that guy for 1 sec, because he know in his heart he did blunder which cost many lives. but has to cover because 'we the world leader' image saving.

    December 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. good idea

    he could do promotional work for Payless Shoes!

    December 16, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. major

    I am impressed at how easily and matter-of-fact(ly) Bush bobbed and weaved his way out of getting nailed by the shoe! Very cool. I've been a harsh critic of the man and everyone and everything he stands for, but I have to say it was a smooth move. Must have pissed off the shoe-thrower big time to have his shoe-throwing stunt dismissed so offhandedly (by the president). American reflexes! Woo hoo!

    December 16, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. That man can move!

    I'll give Bush one thing; he is quick! I bet that would've hit Clinton – bubba didn't start really working out hard until after this time in office. Also, Bush gave a typical lame-brain response. He should've just stuck with what he knows and said "bring 'em on."

    December 16, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. DJB

    I agree with the others here. He just did what MANY of us wish we could have done. I say let him go. I also think he should be shown these letters of support for what he did, he would see that MANY of here is the USA agree with what he did and support him. NOT everyone was for the war in his country and don't agree about WHY we are there in the first place.

    December 16, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. AJ

    I can't believe all of you. No matter how much you disagree with President Bush, he's still the President, and as a symbol of respect to the OFFICE, not necessarily the MAN, acts like this must be punished. Fressdom of speech does not allow for an attempt to harm our elected leaders, much less the president. The way to express your "freedom" and harm him, is to vote him out of office.
    Even if Bush's approval rating was in the single digits, as the president of the US, he deserves our respect, even if not our admiration or approval.

    December 16, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Mari

    @ JJ12345.......... what has Obama done to warrant shoes thrown at him?????? You may not have voted for Obama, but you have NO cause to throw anything at him!

    Bush on the other hand.......









    December 16, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. Dennis, Fairfax, VA

    It's great that Bush just laughed it off, he a pretty funny guy – and nimble too! Unfortunately for al-Zaidi, I doubt the Iraqi government will be as easy going. He might be a pop hero now, but he's rightly going to jail for a long time – as would any American who attacked a foreign dignitary visiting the US. But seeing so many Americans cheering on someone who attacked our President is just very sad, no matter what you might personally think of Bush.

    December 16, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. We're NOT "your friends"!!!

    Let the guy go. Our prez is so ignorant that he dosn't even understand the meaning of what happened. I'm sure that most Americans would LOVE to pelt Bush in the face with their shoes!

    December 16, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Bob

    After seeing Bush dodge the shoes I think he would be a good fit for my dodge ball team.Too bad the shoe thrower missed him!!!

    December 16, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Liane

    No way don't let him go. He attacked representative and visiting official. Sure you don't like Bush and some wish they had the cajones to do the same. But seriously, what if his shoes had a bomb in them. It is not right to physically attack the president. Attacking him attacks all us americans. Don't you get that? This guy owes his freedom to expression to Americans and this is how he repays's digusting. I never voted for Bush and didn't agree with the war, even when we thought there were wmds. But I don't think it is right to so blatantly disrespect the president or disrespect all americans in such a juvenile way.

    December 16, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. JL

    Come on, for crying out loud! Let the guy go.

    December 16, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Sarge in Florida

    To Karol: You stated that this man disrespected Bush...How many people in this country did Bush and Cheney DISRESPECT? Too bad that the guy didn't throw his shoes fast enough and was off target. I pray that Bush/Cheney/Rummy/Rice and all of Lying puppets get their day in jail. Just like the interview that Cheney did this morning he still thinks that Saddam still had WMD when it was proven that it was NOT TRUE..He's just covering his arse so when he goes to trial for WAR CRIMES that will be his defence..I guess keep brain washing the American people to believe his lying mouth that when the jury hears what he has to say that they will believe him. How dare Bush waste tax payer money to go to Iraq for a farewell flight. Do you know how much money and amount of time went in to this FAREWELL? Watch the special about Air Force One on the costs that involved...And congress reamed the top CEO's for taking a trip in their private jet's. It costed about $20 Million to take Bush to Iraq for this FAREWELL trip... I don't know about you but I sure could use about $20 million myself...Oh I forget give it the banks and DON'T ASK/ DON'T TELL on how they spent the $BILLIONS that was given to them to make it easier for them to start lending money to the consumers.HA what a frickin laugh.

    December 16, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Iowa Mom

    I'm certainly no fan of Bush, but the guy should be in jail. Shoe or not he still threatened our president and should be punished for it.

    December 16, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. Scott NYC Independent

    FOR jj12345's consideration

    If Obama turns out to be as inept, ignorant and incompetent as Bush, which we can already see is not the case, and someone threw a shoe at his dumb azz then fine. The harm Bush has caused to Americans and the world is unforgivable and the only reason he was not impeached is because we'd then be stuck with Cheney

    December 16, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Lpreddie

    Free this man, Bush got what he deserves and he is a dog. A Lame Duck as a matter of fact, He is the worst president in history next to LBJ. He did what i wanted to do too. FREE, THIS MAN , LET HIM GO I AM AN AMERICAN FREE HIM SO WHAT !

    December 16, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Angel

    he is a hero....someone needed to remind this current administration how bad their foreign policies that is not a wake up call, i don't know what is.

    December 16, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. arc, Lugano CH

    If only much more than a shoe was thrown at Bush....with the glaring exception of the 'Country First Bigots', I think that you'd be hard pressed to find anyone, anywhere who disagrees with the actions that this man took.

    Well done Mr. Muntadhar al-Zaidi. Many, many Americans support you and we are proud that you threw your shoes at our War Criminal President.

    December 16, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Rod

    Yes, Yes, Yes, pardon him immediately! He did what none of the rest of us have had guts enough to do! Then.....let's bring him here to the good old USA and put him in the '09 football draft! I can think of at least a half dozen teams in the NFL that would love to have him!

    December 16, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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